Burnley forget Premier League troubles to ease past Salford in Carabao Cup
Burnley put their Premier League troubles to one side as they breezed into the last 16 of the Carabao Cup with a 4-0 demolition of Sky Bet League Two strugglers Salford.
Winless in their first five games back in the top flight, Vincent Kompany’s side are enjoying better fortunes in this competition and followed up last month’s victory at Nottingham Forest with a one-sided win over Salford, suffering near the foot of League Two but boasting Cup wins over Leeds and Preston.
Anass Zaroury had a hand in all four goals as Sander Berge, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Dara O’Shea put the result beyond doubt inside the opening half an hour before Wilson Odobert marked his full debut with a late fourth. For all four Burnley scorers, it was their first goal for the club.
It was a welcome flurry from a side who had only scored five goals in six games before this, conceding 14, and puts them into the fourth round for a fourth straight season, although they have not advanced any further since reaching the semi-finals under Owen Coyle in the 2008-09 campaign.
Kompany, who lifted this trophy four times as a player with Manchester City, changed all 11 players from the side beaten 1-0 by Manchester United on Saturday as he juggles his 34-man squad.
But facing a side now on a six-match losing streak, fourth from bottom in the fourth tier and battling a lengthy injury list, there was no surprise in seeing Burnley dominate the ball and quickly take control.
The opening goal was all too easy as Berge, the £15million summer signing from Sheffield United, rose unchallenged to head in Zaroury’s 12th-minute corner.
There was a worry a moment later when Manuel Benson went down awkwardly and immediately signalled for help. The Belgian tried to battle on, and by the time he was eventually replaced by Mike Tresor in the 27th minute, Burnley had scored two more.
First Zaroury lifted a ball through for Bruun Larsen to lob the advancing Salford goalkeeper Alex Cairns.
Then the Moroccan tried to catch out Cairns with a quick free-kick from a tight angle. The keeper stopped the shot but could not hold it, and O’Shea accepted the invite to bundle the ball home.
Tresor had a strike ruled out for offside moments later, while Odobert was inches away from scoring in first-half stoppage time, sending Bruun Larsen’s cross back across the face of goal.
The second half started with Salford right-back Tosin Olapade, released by Burnley in the summer, getting it all wrong trying to clear a Vitinho cross and almost putting the ball into his own net.
Salford then had their best moment when former Northern Ireland international Matty Lund sent Conor McAleny racing through the middle but a combination of Vitinho and O’Shea recovered to make the block.
But the second half was a largely disjointed affair, with Burnley sure of their win and Salford trying to avoid any more damage – something they almost managed to do.
Odobert again went close in the 70th minute, shooting straight at Cairns from a tight angle, but got his goal nine minutes from time when Zaroury picked him out with a cross from the right and he cut back inside before firing into the net.